PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Mapleview Elementary building might no longer be a school, but teaching is still happening within the walls of the building.
When the Punxsutawney School District consolidated the elementary schools in the district, they auctioned off the five buildings, one of which was the Mapleview Elementary School. The owner, Judy Smith, has big plans for the future of the building that she is slowly watching become reality.
The building, now called the Mapleview Schoolhouse Market and Event Center, has been the site of several craft and vendor fairs over the last year, and is slowly renting spaces out to some of the vendors.
Smith said she would love to see the classroom spaces filled with vendors of different crafts and skills, and holding lessons on their craft in the schoolhouse.
“My dream is to have different classrooms have workshops where people can come, like a destination place,” Smith said. “Quilting, painting classes, drawing classes, whatever you want to do.”
She also likes the idea of having environmental classes held at the center because of the space they have outside. Other ideas she favors is having beekeeping classes or alternative energy classes.
“We have a camp where we run everything on solar and hydro energy,” Smith said. “People want to learn about this stuff, and with the kitchen I’d like to see canning classes or cooking classes. I’ve got so many ideas.”
The first event Smith held in the schoolhouse was a “spring fever” vendor fair in March, and she had 46 vendors. Then, she had another event in June with 42 vendors, and finally she had a third “winter market” with 27 vendors at the start of November. She is already planning to have these three events again next year.
“I have so many ideas of things to do here, but I have to pick and chose what I’m going to do. I’d like to see something every month, but I’m only one person,” she said.
Smith also rents out the cafeteria space with the tables and stage for $50 for the first two hours, and then $10 for every additional hour. The full commercial kitchen is still functioning, and the Perry Township Fire Department cooked food out of it during the winter market.
“People that walk through that door who came to school here, this was family. This was everything to them, and whenever they closed the school they were devastated because generations have gone here,” Smith said. “I included in my Facebook write-up that Mapleview is still a happy place.”
Kelsey Snyder and Missy Humble of K&M Pottery have been renting a space in the building since Sept. 1, and have held several ceramics workshops since getting the space. They can teach pottery wheel or sculpting classes with the equipment in the old art room.
Getting the space in Mapleview allowed Snyder and Humble to expand to teaching classes instead of just making their own creations to sell.
There are 19 classrooms in the building each about 675 square feet, which are rented for $350 a month, which includes heat and electric. Doterra Essential Oils is another vendor who rents a room at the center.